This month, the IN spoke with Alyson Bayer of Coastal Community Acupuncture. She spoke about her professional inspiration, international training and passion for the practice of Acupunture.
IN: You recently received a master’s degree in Oriental Medicine. What exactly does this involve?
BAYER: A Master’s of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is a four-year degree program, which I completed in Austin, Tex. at the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin. This program includes Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Tui Na (Chinese massage), Qi Gong, Chinese nutrition, as well as Western medical training. In addition, while in school we complete an extensive student internship program supervised by our Chinese trained professors.
IN: How did you get involved in the field?
BAYER: As an undergraduate at Texas Women’s University, I became interested in studying Oriental Medicine after a professor spoke about his recent Acupuncture experience during class. I decided to go see what he was talking about on a trip to visit friends in Austin. When I saw the Acupuncturist, I had no idea what she could treat and I was extremely nervous. She alleviated my fears and told me to just tell her my main health issue. I told her I had suffered from weekly, sometimes daily, migraines for years. With one Acupuncture treatment, herbal medicine and dietary changes recommended by my Acupuncturist, I was migraine-free for the first time in over a decade. After that there was no question in my mind as to what I wanted to study.
IN: What types of issues do you usually treat as an Acupuncturist?
BAYER: As an Acupuncturist I would say the main problems we treat have to do with pain management. This type of medicine is very effective at treating pain of various sorts, from arthritis to fibromyalgia. In addition, Oriental Medicine can treat a wide variety of internal medicine disorders such as digestive complaints and emotional problems and is very effective at treating allergies.
IN: You’ve traveled around the world studying and learning Acupuncture, Tai Chi, Tui Na and Chinese herbal medicine techniques. How have these international experiences shaped your practice and how you treat patients?
BAYER: I was fortunate enough while in school to spend time studying Oriental Medicine and Qi Gong in China. This was an amazing experience to see how our medicine is practiced in its home. It showed me the true versatility of Oriental Medicine, which you do not get the opportunity to see in America. One particular instance sticks out in my mind and really gave me the confidence in the ability of this medicine to do almost anything. One of the patients we saw in the inpatient wing of a hospital in Chengdu, China, had fallen off a roof a year before and severed his spinal cord, leaving him a paraplegic. After a year of Acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine therapy he was able to wiggle his toes and move his feet slightly, and he had regained his ability to feel his legs. This helps me when treating difficult cases to know that when given time, this medicine can truly accomplish amazing things.
IN: What’s the best part of your job?
BAYER: What I love about my job is healing people and educating them on how to stay healthy. It’s very rewarding to see people who have been suffering for years with a particular ailment and to be able to help them in a course of a few treatments. I feel very blessed to be in the profession I’m in.
Coastal Community Acupuncture
124 B E. Wright St.